The Hill welcomed Andrew Watson, president of Translate the Brain, to share his insights with students, faculty, and parents on how to study less, but learn more. His talk focused on how to prepare your mind, body, and environment for optimal study and learning. Watson’s “big three” takeaways were:
1) Retrieval (flashcards, quizlet, quizzes) not review is the superior strategy for retention. Simply rereading notes and textbooks will not allow you to retain as much information as exercises that encourage students to retrieve and recall the material.
2) Eating healthy, aerobic exercise, and good sleep (eight to nine consecutive hours) is imperative to declarative and procedural memory.
3) A quiet, congruent, non-distracting environment for the brain is best. The brain operates better if it is able to focus on one thing at a time, so listening to music while studying is not advisable. If using technology for studying, then only use the technology for that purpose. Using quizlet while watching YouTube videos is not effective.
Watson began his classroom life as a high-school English teacher in 1988, and has been working in or near schools ever since. In 2008, Andrew began exploring the practical application of psychology and neuroscience in his classroom. In 2011, he earned his M. Ed. from the “Mind, Brain, Education” program at Harvard University. As president of Translate the Brain, Andrew now works with teachers, students, administrators, and parents to make learning easier and teaching more effective. He has presented at schools and workshops across the country; he also serves as an adviser to several organizations, including The People’s Science. Andrew is the author of Learning Begins: The Science of Working Memory and Attention for the Classroom Teacher.